According to information obtained by Townhall, the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms will soon be opening up a store inside ATF Headquarters in Washington D.C. in an effort to boost morale.
"Currently the Office of the Director is in the process of coordinating the opening of an ATF store, which will be located in ATF HQ. The mission of the store is to serve current and former employees of ATF, Task Force Officers, and family members by promoting the general welfare and morale of the employees of ATF by providing, encouraging and supporting social, educational, and recreational activities of interest to its employees. In the coming weeks, more information will follow about the ATF HQ store," ATF Chief of Strategic Management (OSM) Ron Humphries wrote in an email to employees on October 28, 2013.
In 2012, survey results of ATF employees from 2011 showed increasingly low morale within the scandal plagued agency and distrust of management.
"Late last year, ATF received the results of the 2011 Federal Employee Viewpoint Survey (EVS). A key area in which ATF fell short was leadership. Most troubling were responses to the question -"My senior leaders maintain high standards of honesty and integrity." The honesty and integrity of senior leadership is fundamental to the success of any organization," an email from ATF headquarters stated in 2012 before employees were asked to fill out another survey. "Given recent changes to ATF senior leadership, we want to reassess views on this issue and gather information on the specific behaviors which influence both positive and negative responses to this question."
Results from the survey were shared with ATF Executive Staff and field leadership. In 2013, lack of leadership and distrust of supervisors by field agents hasn't changed.
"At a time when our Bureau is plagued by years of mismanagement, lack of oversight and abuses directed at its agents, it's very disheartening to the field that headquarter priorities have nothing to do with correcting the broken policies and practices or even relate to strengthening our mission capability," ATF Special Agent and whistleblower Vince Cefalu tells Townhall in response to the ATF store announcement. "The best they can come up with is selling ATF SWAG. For a Bureau suffering such huge divisions between the field and management, this does nothing to rebuild confidence in our leadership by either the agents or the American public."
Earlier this year, the Senate confirmed President Obama's nominee for permanent ATF Director, B. Todd Jones, to head the agency. Prior to his confirmation, Jones served as the acting director for the agency and was confirmed despite being under investigation for intimidation of whistleblowers. ATF Spokesman Drew Wade told Fox News last year that Jones is committed to gaining back the trust of ATF employees and has put new leadership in place to get the job done.
According to Public Affairs Division Special Agent Tim Graden, details about the cost of the store, what is will be sold, how the store will be paid for, where money from purchases will go and whether people working in the store will be volunteers or paid employees, are not yet available.
"The store is still in the development process and there has not been a time frame given as to when it will actually open," Graden said.